May 17, 2017


Red Onion

This beautiful study in violets and reds took weeks to paint and it changed a lot over time. Pam kept it in the fridge between sittings and it held up remarkably well for the length of time, despite losing a few bits in the process.

Here is the original drawing, wonderfully rendered in great detail. Both works retain a great sense of roundness and dimension.

May 16, 2017


Lichen Branch

There are at least 6 different types of lichen on this little branch, a study in texture and colour...

A whole world clinging to a tiny branch...

 earthbound, breathing barnacles.


Falling Leaves

Autumn leaves falling through space...

May 7, 2017


Poplar #3
Black Cottonwood | Populus nigra 

Kathryn's most recent Poplar branch.

The details are worth a closer look.

Kathryn loves to paint branches... the woody parts with all their bumps and shapes... she calls it "dessert"... the reward after wrestling with the hard-to-control washes below the veining in the leaves. It's hard to see the variety of colours in the photograph, but this branch has blue and green and yellow and violet in it. 

April 29, 2017


Vine Maple | Acer circinatum 

One of Kathryn's most recent paintings... crispy, dry Vine Maple leaves complete with offspring.

January 13, 2017


Turban Squash | Cucurbita maxima cultivar

Pam painted the brilliant orange of this winter squash like a beacon illuminating the darkness of winter. Not just a play of light and colour but also of shape... the square in the circle, the circles in the square, stripes and spots and textures, and the deep centre in all its detail. 

What she lacks in culinary charms she more than makes up for in sheer good looks...
Described in the nineteenth century as "the most beautiful in color, and the most worthless 
in quality, of all the varieties of squash;...coarse, watery and insipid."  
Gregory, James J. H. (1893). Squashes: How to Grow Them

November 10, 2016


Poplar #2
Eastern Cottonwood | Populous deltoides

Amazing and unusual autumn colours on this small branch of poplar leaves! 

This detail shows some of the remarkable colour patterns and the fine brushwork in the stem.

These leaves were painted on Arches 300lb hot pressed paper. There was much less flocking this time, and the crisp edges were easier to achieve (see 2 posts below, Poplar Leaves # 1, for notes on paper comparison with Fabriano).

November 2, 2016


Spanish Lavender | Lavandula stoechas

This beautiful sprig of lavender looks so alive thanks to Pam's careful painting.
The composition highlights the bend of the blossoms in the wind.

A closer look reveals the range of colors and delicacy of the brushwork.

November 1, 2016


Poplar #1
Black Cottonwood | Populus nigra


A crisp branch of rusty poplar leaves... 

 ...and a closer look inside the process.

This painting was done on Fabriano Artistico 300 lb Hot Pressed paper. 

There have been quite a few botanical artists experiencing problems with this paper lately, including Kathryn. It has a tendency to bleed and make washes blotchy and hard to handle. Crisp edges have been hard to achieve, and the consistency of the paper is proving unreliable.

Some artists are returning to Arches, as you will see with Kathryn's next painting. 

Others are trying out Moulin du Roy, sized with starch instead of the usual gelatin. 

October 31, 2016


Birch | Betula papyrifera

 Kathryn's lace leaf, picked up from the forest floor, and painted twice life size, or 2:1.

A closer look at the delicately rendered details, where you can see that each vein has dimension.

October 26, 2016


Oregon Grape | Mahonia aquifolium

This Oregon Grape branch was found in the woods in early spring near Kathryn Macdonald's home in Port Moody. 

This is one of Kathryn's first botanical paintings... a very promising start in a new direction. 
She came to the studio with a degree in studio art from Emily Carr, but with no previous watercolour experience. After an initial struggle with the new medium, Kathryn now says she thinks she's found an artistic home in botanical painting. I think so, too.

A closer look at the details.

March 19, 2016


Linden | Tilia americana


Michael's dried linden leaf and seed cluster, elegantly suspended in space...

February 27, 2016



The last blooms of summer.

Budding Branch 

An uncertain foundling caught Elizabeth's eye on the way to the studio way back in the spring.

January 11, 2016


Red Peppers

The intensity of red on a ribbon of green... and a beautiful composition...

December 22, 2015



A simple holly branch for the season, started back in summer... and after many preparatory paintings,
Mary produced this lovely luminous painting.

As rich and beautiful as the leaves and berries are, 
the branch is also very sensitively observed and well-painted.

Peace on Earth...

December 10, 2015


Robin's Egg & Bramble Leaf

A broken robin's egg floating safely to earth in its dried bramble leaf boat...

Painted mostly in drybrush, with little strokes of colour, much like egg-tempera... crisp, clean and clear. This is a close-up view so you can see some of the details... the original composition is the same with a lot more white space around the subject.

December 2, 2015



 Glowing like lanterns...

October 28, 2015


Bird of Paradise

This close-up view of the Bird of Paradise flower was painted on a 22" x 30" sheet 
of 300lb hot pressed Arches paper. 

These flowers don't last long so far from home, 
and Francine went through a good dozen before she produced this arresting image. 

October 25, 2015


Miniature Rose 

A classic corsage composition... 
Renee captured the colour and details beautifully in this charming painting.

Again, the painting was preceded by a detailed drawing. 

Tonal studies like this one and Max Wu's below are very helpful to the painting process, when the subject is drooping or changing too quickly. They assist in getting the shadows right, and in figuring out the subtle shifts in colour that may be lost as the plant ages. 

October 17, 2015


St. John's Wort - Dried Seed Capsule

Max's first finished watercolour! Months in the making, she started with a very carefully observed drawing... as you can see below.

Max made this detailed ink drawing about 6 times larger than life. The subject itself measures only about 1-1.5 inches in diameter and was drawn entirely while looking through a magnifying glass. 

She has started work on a second drawing of the same plant, another seed capsule but of a different specimen at an earlier stage, before the opening of the central seed pod. 
Stay tuned...

September 9, 2015


Wild Turkey Feather

Ena originally thought she had a Red-Tailed Hawk feather on her drawing board but had to laugh when her majestic bird turned out to be a Wild Turkey!

This feather is approximately 12 inches long and was painted life size over a period of several months. ...
Usually a very speedy painter, Ena took her time to get the details just right, to great success.
Congratulations, Ena... it was worth the wait!

September 6, 2015



A summer of Dahlias... this is one of many little paintings Meriel did this summer in the company of flowers. A little bit of fireworks for the season...


Soft, romantic, an old-fashioned beauty...

Calla Lily

These Calla's came to be in the spring... another one of Meriel's beautiful compositions.


Budding Magnolia Branch

Spring treasure...


Inspired by Ena's lovely feathers, Pam did a great job with this one, including the delicate shadow. 

Looks all dressed up with her beautiful red chop... elegant and restful.

Yellow Carrot on River Stone

I like to think of this unusual yellow carrot resting on a rock as a reclining nude, sunbathing on the beach...

Creative composition and a beautifully painted stone complete with cast shadow. 

September 3, 2015



Another companion in the Herb Series...
Click on Elizabeth Kidd below or to the right to see more.

Pink Peppercorns and Linden Seeds

Little dots and colours gently falling through space...

August 30, 2015


Chinese Lantern... or Physalis alkekengi

Renee's glowing lanterns look forward to the coming season...

You may remember Renee's beautiful drawing of these Chinese Lanterns. 
Click on her name under Labels below or to the right to see it again.

August 29, 2015


Harry Lauder's Walking Stick

Also known as Corkscrew Hazel, or Corylus avellana 'Contorta'.

Subtle... hard to photograph... beautiful play of shadow and light...

January 7, 2015



Susan painted this large leaf in the fall...

We usually see Brunnera in clusters close to the ground, missing the grace of the stem with its gentle curve and the interesting raised-vein pattern under the leaf. 

Painting or drawing something like this can help us to see it with new eyes...